Puntland: Bosasso – Exploring the City
The oceanfront Bosasso is the economic capital of Puntland (inland Garowe is the political capital). So it’s kind of like NYC vs Washington DC, but not exactly. Bosasso dates back to the 14th century and was known for a long time a trade center of Bender Kassim, a major port along the Red Sea routes on the Gulf of Aden coast. Similar to Mogadishu in Somalia-proper, you need a full security escort with two cars, guys with AK47s, and tinted windows. Just like in Mogadishu, the town is full of small shops, each colorfully painted with its specialty – barbers, auto parts, convenience stores, khat, and so on. Apparently, this has been done so that many people who can’t read would understand what’s inside. Everything felt safe and quiet, the need for escorts with guns was totally exaggerated. Nonetheless, Puntland, just like Somalia, is a police state.